Monday, July 27, 2015

JUSTICE IN AMERICA - Sandra Bland Arrest

aka 'Don't Smoke in Texas While Black'

"Should Sandra Bland have been arrested?" PBS NewsHour 7/22/2015


SUMMARY:  New video of Sandra Bland's traffic stop shows the aggressive arrest before she died in police custody in Texas.  Gwen Ifill learns more about the investigation into Bland’s death and the officer’s conduct from Alana Rocha of The Texas Tribune.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  So how does that disputed video change our understanding of what happened?  And where does that promised thorough investigation stand?

For that, we turn to Alana Rocha, multimedia reporter for The Texas Tribune.  I spoke with her a short time ago.

Alana Rocha, thank you for joining us.

This story seems divided into two parts, the story about the disputed video and of course, three days later, the dispute over how she died.  Let’s talk about the video first.  What is at the root of that dispute over what we saw on that video?

ALANA ROCHA, The Texas Tribune:  Well, her initial reason or the officer’s initial reason for pulling her over was simply changing lanes without signaling.

She tried to explain to him, when she was saying why she was frustrated, that she saw him coming behind her, and she wanted to get out of the way and maybe she just wasn’t thinking and didn’t signal.  But she’s obviously frustrated, expresses that to him.  He obviously doesn’t like her attitude and uses unnecessary force is what DPS is saying, that he, you know, violated protocol in that stop.

GWEN IFILL:  Is there any way, looking at that video, that you can determine — I know you have had a chance to look at more of it than we were able to show on the program — that she did anything that we see on tape that was illegal?


I mean, I think that him asking her to put out the cigarette was the straw that broke the camel’s back, if you will, and you hear him put down his clipboard after she refuses that request and says, “I’m in my car, I’m within my rights.”

We have talked to legal experts since that video came out yesterday saying she is within her rights to be smoking in her car.  But they also say that when a law enforcement officer asks you to do something, whether it’s right or not, sometimes it’s best to just comply.  And she doesn’t.

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